The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, prepared a worthy dwelling for Your Son, and Who, by Your Son’s death, foreseen by You, preserved her from all taint, grant, we beseech You, through her intercession, that we too may come to You unstained by sin."
- From the Collect for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the great Church feasts of the year. It celebrates the fact that Mary, “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin” (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus). The various prayers and readings for the feast are rich in meaning. In the Gradual of the Mass, the Church praises Mary in these words:
"Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you are the honor of our people."
As St. James wrote, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). No one in history has more cause to boast than the Blessed Virgin Mary, yet no one in history is more humble, acknowledging that all her great gifts come from God. In the Immaculate Conception, we see the foundation of those great gifts, and how through Mary and her seed, the Great Serpent’s head would be crushed.
- Adapted from Scripture & Tradition: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“That one woman is both Mother and Virgin, not in spirit only but even in body. In spirit she is mother, not of our Head, who is our Saviour Himself - of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom - but plainly she is the mother of us, who are His members, because by love, she has cooperated, so that the faithful, who are the members of that Head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very Head.” Saint Augustine (354-430), Father and Doctor of the Church